Acid Reflux Drugs Raise Stomach Cancer Risk
New research suggests long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – medications used to treat acid reflux – more than doubles your risk for stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer. This study confirms earlier research linking PPIs to higher stomach cancer risk and takes a closer look at the role of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), bacteria in the gut associated with the development of stomach cancer.
Although stomach cancer risk rises with higher PPI doses and the duration of treatment, according to the researchers, and elimination of H. pylori from the gut lowers this risk, a significant percentage of people who take PPIs develop gastric cancer. Cancer of the stomach is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world.
For this study, the researchers compared the use of PPIs with another type of acid reflux drug – histamine H2 receptor antagonists, or H2 blockers – in 63,397 adults. They discovered that PPI use leads to a 2.44 times higher risk for stomach cancer and that daily use increases the risk 4.55 times. Stomach cancer risk is five times higher in those who use PPIs for one year, six times higher after two or more years, and more than eight times higher after three or more years. Results of the study were published online in the journal Gut.